Do you have Safe Work Method Statements?
What is a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)?
A SWMS is a document which provides information that is required when undertaking High Risk Construction Work. High Risk Construction Work involves:
work carried out in area with artificial extremes of temperature
a risk of falling more than 2 metres
building or demolition work that involve structural alterations or repairs to a structure that requires support to prevent collapse
the demolition of a load bearing part of a structure or the demolition of any part of a structure that is likely to affect its physical integrity
asbestos, explosives or driving work
It also includes work that is carried out in, on or near any:
shaft or trench with an excavated depth greater than 1.5 metres or a tunnel
pressurised gas distribution mains or piping
chemical or refrigerant lines
energized electrical installations or services
area that may have contaminated or flammable atmosphere
road, railway, shipping lane or other traffic corridor that is in use by traffic other than pedestrians
area at a workplace in which there is any movement of powered mobile plant
water or other liquid that involves a risk of drowning.
A SWMS identifies the High Risk Construction Work activities which will be carried out on the work site. It also considers what safety measures should be implemented in order to reduce any hazards caused by carrying out such work activities.
A SWMS is also a helpful tool that can be used by business owners, supervisors and workers to confirm and monitor the control measures required at a construction site or workplace. A SWMS must be prepared by the person responsible for carrying out the High Risk Construction Work activities prior to carrying out any work.
What should a SWMS include?
identify the activities that constitute High Risk Construction Work
specify the hazards relating to such activities
describe the measures that will be taken to control the risks; and also how such measures will be implemented, monitored and reviews.
What are the Duties of the Principal Contractor?
A Principal Contractor is required to:
collect SWMS from any contractors carrying out High Risk Construction Work
if no SWMS has been completed, arrange for the document to be prepared by the appropriate contractor
follow the WHS Regulations in regards to the specific arrangements for collecting, assessing, monitoring and reviewing SWMS.
What are the duties of individuals carrying out the work?
Individuals that are carrying out High Risk Construction Work are required to:
prepare and complete a SWMS prior to commencing works
ensure that the SWMS can be effectively followed by workers
provide the Principal Contractor with a copy of the completed SWMS
carry out work in accordance with the SWMS
review and revise the SWMS
ensure that the SWMS is accessible to all workers
make sure that the SWMS is kept on the work site
It is important to actively involve workers in the development of SWMS in order to ensure that they understand how to implement and maintain risk controls. For more information contact the team at The Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry.
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